Adobe Photoshop is one of the must have software for most web and graphic designers. If you are beginner, you have many things to learn. If you are an expert, you always have more to learn specially the advanced techniques. In this article I want to share untechnical tips to improve your Photoshop skills.
As shown below, at least there are 10 ways to effectively improve your Photoshop skills using resources that are available around us.
1. Follow The Instructions
Make sure that you are diligent in following the instructions that are contained within the tutorials. This is the key to get the right outcomes on the Photoshop images that are on the website. Although you may have different skills that match the information that is put on the tutorial, it is far better to follow the instructions. They take a logical path from the beginning of the tutorial right up to the stage where you can confidently prepare a finished product on your own. You should not attempt to cut corners by not following the instructions within the Photoshop tutorials.
2. Do your research
If you are not happy with the methods that are being used by a particular Photoshop tutorial then you might be well advised to do some research on your own. The internet is full of individual guides that are based on the personal experiences of the people writing them. You can learn a lot about the subject from these tutorials and you might be able to apply it within your own practice as you try to create Photoshop images.
3. Practice, Practice and Practice
The Photoshop skills that you learn are based on practice. There is no point in reading about the design of a particular element if you are not going to apply the principles in your own work. The practice that you get by doing live projects is invaluable. It will improve your skills and ability to deal with all the different tasks that might be on the table when you are designing the website. Google Reader is a great way to sort out the best tutorials and then ensure that they come first on your screen.
4. Visit Photoshop Tutorial and Community Websites
Make sure that you visit the branded tutorial websites which give you a lot of information about Photoshop both on the theoretical front and the practical application of those theories. The Collis group has come up with a list of websites for this purpose including PhotoshopStar, Tutorial 9, Tutorial Dog, PS Hero, PhotoshopGUIDesign, Abduzeedo, Digital Grin, Worth1000 and Photoshop support services. There are also other programs that run on PSD Learning and the Photoshop Essentials website. PhotoshopTutorials.ws and PSDFAN are also making an impact in terms of improving the skills of the people that read them.
5. Use The Theories That You Have Learnt
The Photoshop program lends itself to the belief that you should practice everything that you read. You also get the flexibility to try out the theories in the hope that they might bring in something new to your repertoire. The scenario training is particularly effective in helping you to implement the tricks of the trade. As you grow in your Photoshop skills you will find that some solutions can be obtained by careful experimentation rather than just the theoretical basis of the program.
6. Deal With The Basics First
A good strategy for overcoming the challenges of Photoshop is to work with the fundamentals. Before you get to the advanced techniques it is better for you to master the fundamental techniques in the program. They will make the transition much easier in the long run. There are websites that are only too willing to help you overcome the initial steps. Elite by Design has come up with a week long program for getting people to use Photoshop correctly. They will address things such as the interface and the short cuts. These might not appear to be life and death matters but they help the student when it comes to dealing with the complex situations.
7. Use the practice sessions that come with the program
Try to use the tutorials that come with the program because they are bespoke to that particular brand and they are written in a way that is conducive to learning. For example you should aim to go through all the exercises that have been proposed and you should ensure that you are in a position to complete most of the basic tasks that come with the program. If you find that you are struggling with this tutorial then you fill the gaps that are existent in terms of your Photoshop skills.
8. Participate in blogs and forums
It is generally a good idea to participate in the forums and blogs that discuss the latest developments in Photoshop technology. They will provide you with invaluable insight into the way that the program is developing. You might also solicit some constructive criticism from the fellow designers so that you can get a different perspective on the work that you have done. The groups on Flickr.dom are very good for this purpose.
9. Share the knowledge that you have
Make sure that you share your insights on Photoshop. It is said that you only truly learn something when you are able to teach it to someone else. The same rule applies to Photoshop. If you take the time to write a blog or forum about the things that you have learnt then chances are that you will be proficient in the subject. The blog will attract traffic and feedback which can be very useful in terms of improving your practice.
10. Take Notes as you work
When you are doing Photoshop projects, ensure that you keep a note of the progress that you have been making. This will help you to mark the milestones of whatever is happening in your development. However it also serves the purpose of reminding you about the important things that you need to do in order to make the Photoshop projects work. It is almost like a revision book for the beginners. If you are not certain about the things that are written in the book then it might be a good idea to get feedback from the people that have a greater experience of Photoshop. They will help you to fill in the gaps.
What is your learning strategy? What approach do you use to improve your Photoshop skills? Feel free to comment area below.